NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Staten Island is coming under a construction boom as the St. George section alone will be home to new apartments, restaurants and shops.
CBS2’s Elise Finch is asking if this means if Staten Island is about to become the new Brooklyn.
Staten Island is often called the forgotten borough, but that’s about to change as a new trio of waterfront construction projects is expected to attract millions of people each year to eat, shop sightsee and live.
“We’re going to upgrade it, make it more better, especially this area,” Staten Island resident Jonathan Trimarche said.
Brianna Benjamin of Staten Island said, “I think it’s good for the island itself and the community.”
Empire Outlet Center will feature 100 designer outlet stores and a boutique hotel.
The New York Wheel, a 60-story Ferris wheel patterned after the London Eye, will offer a birds-eye view of the city skyline.
And the Lighthouse Point Development, which broke ground Wednesday, will feature apartments, restaurants, shops, office space and outdoor entertainment space.
Brooklyn-based realtor Anthony Lolli said Staten Island’s new waterfront real estate will offer what you’d find in Williamsburg or Hoboken for less.
“You’re going to save about 20 to 25 percent, but they’re also giving you a ton more amenities and everything is brand-spanking new,” Lolli, CEO of Rapid Realty, said.
Longtime Staten Island residents said because of the new construction other people are about to find out what they’ve always known.
“It’s in New York City, but it gives you more of a small-town vibe,” Timothy O’Toole said.
Tiffany Moses said, “Staten Island is really homey, everybody knows each other.”
However, Brooklyn residents said the new construction won’t turn Staten Island into the new Brooklyn.
“Staten Island could never be Brooklyn,” one person said.
Another exclaimed, “Nothing could be Brooklyn, we’re way too diverse.”
Staten Island Borough President James Oddo said the only thing they’re trying to be is the best version of themselves.
“What we are is historically a bedroom community that in certain corridors will now be the home a cool, hip, clean, safe, diverse vibrant waterfront community,” Oddo said.
Combined, the waterfront projects represent a roughly $2 billion investment.
Staten Island’s water projects are schedule to be completed next year.